Over the years, there have been countless wonderful, engaging moments with groups of young people on detached, and you’d be forgiven that us detached workers give too good an impression of the amazing time, like some kind of evangelist for the work. Yet as well as the good/busy/interactive nights there can be plenty of nights where this is not the case, and if you’re a detached worker, and the night is quiet, here are a few tips to keep you going:
1. Remember that as a youthworker, your regularity in a space is a good thing, young people can choose to interact with you if you’re there, they cant if you’re not
2. Its a good opportunity to team build with your volunteers, chat with them and have conversation as you walk around.
3. Continue to observe the nature of the community in the space, the movement of people, buses, travel through, dog walkers, other adults
4. Reflect with your volunteers about of their experiences of detached thus far, personal challenges, essence of the work, conversations, referrals, groups thus far
5. The community will still see you, whether its young people on the streets, but others will and may be inquisitive, being involved in the wider community is no bad thing, use this to help gain acceptance and influence
6. Use the time to do informal training with the volunteers as you walk around with them, pick a theme, ie ethics, boundaries or challenges and talk through it with them
7. On a quiet night use the opportunity to maybe walk to areas that you wouldnt normally do, expand your remit, just for the odd occasion, take on a wider span
8. Realise that every night you are in a particular area is another opportunity to be accustomed to the space, whether its dark or light, and to be more confident in the space, so that its easier to use when its full of young people.
9. Keep a sense of humour, make the most of a quiet night, if you’ve done your research you’ll know its just a blip
There may be other things you can do, and please comment here to add your own to help other detached youthworkers. There is no such thing as a wasted evening on detached.